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It has been four years since Tim’s last solo recording. Between collaborations with Darrell Scott, the recent Grammy winning recording with Jerry Douglas’s Earls of Leicester and the rebooting of Hot Rize; he’s barely had time for a shower. Still, somewhere in O’Brien’s vivid imagination, the seeds of Pompadour began to sprout. The fruits of his recent wanderings, music making and worldly observations have blossomed into eleven exquisitely varied, true to life and above all musical tracks.
Each of O’Brien’s solo albums has a distinctive identity. Many have specific themes, including Red on Blonde, an insightful collection of Bob Dylan compositions, and his Grammy winning celebration of Appalachian music and its Celtic roots, Fiddler’s Green. So it is with Pompadour, or at least most of it. It’s kind of a breakup record, O’Brien says. I separated from my wife four years ago and got divorced a year after that. So there’s a breakup, an assessment and ultimately delight at the end.
What separates Pompadour from his previous thematic albums? O’Brien answers by looking back to his first nationally released album. When I did Hard Year Blues, a friend said, ‘This is kind of like a Chinese menu; there are so many options here. What’s the theme?’ It was really eclectic. Now, with Pompadour, I’ve sort of melded things together, like the flavors in a stew.”
Pompadour swirls together bits of bluegrass, deep roots Appalachian music, field hollers, old school rock ‘n’ roll, traditional jazz and even James Brownian funk.